Saturday, March 24, 2012

Can You Believe It?

Was in my first 5k today with some people from work. You may be asking the question that I've asked myself for weeks...
You did what?!?!
Yeah.  I didn't run the whole thing, but I think I did maybe half of it, and finished it in around 42 minutes. That's pretty good for this girl who couldn't run at all as a kid without running out of breath in about a minute.  Don't get me wrong, I still huff and puff a lot, but I guess that's ok when you're 40-something. I'm not sure how many participated overall, and I wanted to write this while it was fresh in my mind so I'm not waiting until the results show up on the website. 

One interesting thing happened shortly after the race started. I was moving along, and people were everywhere. It was a little overwhelming, but I made it through that part (I really didn't know what to expect at the start of a race. It can be a bit chaotic if you've never done it before). I was listening to music, which not only motivates but also helps drown out the aforementioned huffing and puffing. I was probably about 1/4 mile in, and I heard the lyrics in my ears....
With my feet off the ground I'm gonna praise You
With this love I have found, I'm gonna tell the world
The reason I dance is 'cause You saved me
Yes You saved me, yes You saved me
And here's where it got odd. I mean, interesting is what I said before so let's go with that.  I started to cry. Not just a few tears, but I was trying with all my might to not sob out loud.

At first glance, they don't seem like words that would make a person cry, do they? Not to me either. I've listened to that song a whole bunch of times and I'm pretty sure I never cried before. Have you ever tried to run while you're crying? It is NOT easy.

Then, it hit me. One year ago I was in Romania (can you believe it?). I was holding babies. I was walking up hill at some point that day (that's just a given - everything is up hill) and I know I couldn't keep up, and I'm sure I was doing a lot of that huffing and puffing I mentioned before. I'm pretty sure that it was one year ago today (or tomorrow) that we walked up to the Hollywood, I mean Brasov sign and the man I passed told me I was "last in line". Then I wrote this.

Today, I realized that I'm not last in line any more. Not physically, not emotionally, not spiritually. Oh I know I wasn't really last then, but my perception at the time was just that. Last. I also know that I'm certainly not first now.

As I pulled myself together, I found myself running and praising God and thanking him for how far he has brought me in the last year. He did save me. Once many years ago he saved me from me, and last year, he saved me from Meningitis (whether you believe I was saved by the healing hand of God or the miracle of modern medicine, He did save me). And of course, that made me cry more, and a few of those sobs I was trying to hold in escaped. If you're new here or have forgotten what happened, check out this post. I did eventually manage to pull myself together for the majority of the run though.

Toward the end of the race - maybe 1/2 mile from the end of the race, I passed a man on the side of the road. Unlike the man who saw my defeat in Romania, this man spoke to my potential. He said,
"You're almost there. You can make it."
It's amazing what that little bit of encouragement did for my drive to finish. I'd like to say I sprinted the rest of the way, but I didn't, but I did have a little more spring in my step.  (This is a a great place to pause and remind you that death and life are in the power of the tongue, and something so powerful should be used with extreme care - there's your less for today).

As I turned the corner to cross the finish line, I scanned quickly the crowd for the rest of our team from work. I didn't see them, but I decided to sprint to the finish line and then look for them. Right before I crossed the finish line, I heard someone call my name. Once again, I knew I wasn't alone. My team was waiting for me, once again - just like the team waited at the top of the hill in Romania. But this time, I celebrated and, once again, fought back the tears.

Oh, that song up there is "Let it Out" by Worth Dying For, in case you were curious.
Update: Looks like just over 700 participants in the race, and I was #423 - official time 41:37.7. I'll take it!

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